Precursor Games Interview: Wii U’s horsepower, benefits of episodic games, Cry Engine 3, and more
Precursor Games formed out of the ashes of Silicon Knights and debuted strong this past month with their 2014 Wii U/PC game, Shadows of the Eternals. Precursos Games is looking for around $1 million in crowd funding and with 20 days to go their Kickstarter campaign has earned about 100k.
Shadows of the Eternals looks like a spiritual sequel to 2002’s Eternal Darkness, so much so that Precursor Games bought Eternal Darkness related assets from Silicon Knights as they went under. Since so much of the staff is comprised of the same people who were working for Silicon during the X-Men and Too Human days, Precursor Games has had to discuss what they are going to change about how they do business almost as much as Shadows of the Eternals itself.
The crew at Precursor Games was kind enough to answer some questions for me about the team’s past, the Wii U, and their future. Check out the full interview below.
Interview with Precursor Games
Question: Since Shadows of the Eternals will be released in episodes, have any episodic game series influenced development of the game? What successes of other episodic games (like TellTale’s The Walking Dead) are you hoping to replicate and what mistakes of other episodic games are you trying to avoid?
Precursor: In traditional development we would work on a product for over 2 years until we could get feedback from the community. If we were lucky and we got the opportunity to do a sequel, we we have to wait another 2 years to see how the community felt we applied the feedback. Episodic games allows us to get feedback from our community (the Order) much quicker than traditionally, which will allow us to improve the quality of subsequent episodes which we feel should make for a better product. We think it is important to release the episodes in a timely manner to make sure the fans keep getting to experience the story as it unfolds.
Question: Why did you choose Cry Engine 3 for the game and how has it been working with Crytek’s game engine?
Precursor: We felt that CryENGINE 3 gives us the best ability to translate our vision of the game and bring it to life. The engine has been amazing to work with so far. The toolset is robust and allows for quick iteration, which allows us to easily test out new ideas and refine existing ones. The rendering is very advanced and it allows us to create the specific atmosphere we are looking for.
Question: A lot has been said (some negatively) about the power of Nintendo’s Wii U console. You guys have spoken highly about how the system handles Cry Engine 3. How does the Wii U compare to current-generation and next-generation systems in your opinion?
Precursor: Although it may not have as much processing power as the other platforms, the Wii U presents opportunities like no other platform for some very unique gameplay and we are very excited to to bringing Shadow of the Eternals to it. We are excited about using the Nintendo eShop to give us flexibility to distribute our game episodically.
Question: How close will the Wii U and PC versions of Shadows of the Eternals be in terms of visuals?
Precursor:The CryENGINE 3 supports many different configurations on the PC to handle different system requirements which makes it difficult to compare it to the Wii U. We are aiming for them to be as similar as possible visually, yet take advantage of the unique aspects of each platform.
Question: Inevitably there will be countless gamers who see Shadows of the Eternals in 2014 that have no prior knowledge of the studio’s past with Silicon Knights. Since these gamers will essentially be a clean slate, what message do you hope to convey to them about Precursor Games and your future projects following Shadows?
Precursor : Precursor Games is a new company, built from the ground up, to create something different and create types of games that are no longer being made these days. We are combining the concepts of episodic content, crowdfunding, and community created content to provide a special opportunity for our games.
Question: It has to be stressful going into countless interviews with your Silicon Knights past being brought up when you just want to discuss Shadows of the Eternals. It must take a large amount of humility to put up with that, do you feel the press and gaming public have been receptive to your studio as you try to move forward?
Precursor: We have found the best way to deal with these concerns is to be transparent and openly address any issues as they arise. When we do this, we have found a positive reaction and we believe more and more people are starting to look to the future with us.
Question: Shadows of the Eternals will hopefully serve as another great game in the revival of the survival-horror genre. How do you feel about the horror game genre in the industry today? If Shadows of the Eternals can have a lasting impact on horror games what do you hope that impact will be?
Precursor: Shadow of the Eternals hopefully with help with a horror revival but we are not specifically a survival horror. We are an action adventure with horror elements. By combining an historically accurate setting with cosmic horror over a span of 2500 years we hope to create an experience like none-other. We would be proud of any contribution to the horror genre.
Question: Is there any other genres the staff at Precursor Games is dying to develop a game in other than action/horror?
Precursor: All our focus is on Shadow of the Eternals right now, but we are always excited for new adventures in gaming.
I’ve been impressed with Precursor Game’s humility throughout the past month. Confronting their past head-on is a bold, necessary move if they’re going to establish a fan base. So many game companies sweep events like X-Men Destiny under the rug and pretend like nothing ever happened.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Eternal Darkness. I loved how it took elements from post-modern literature (whether intentional or not) like messing with the viewers role in the game by tricking the player into thinking something was wrong with their television, game system, etc. I’m hopeful Shadows of the Eternals will do something similar.
It’s going to be a long wait but when Shadows of the Eternals does arrive in 2014 the entire gaming industry will have their eyes on Precursor Games. They sound humble enough to assure me that they will avoid past mistakes, now it is up to them to deliver a quality experience.